Change it! No wait, Leave it Alone!

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We've used two major system management paradigms for SQL Server: The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and the Visual Studio shared components. In early versions of SQL Server, we had Enterprise Manager for most management tasks from a graphical standpoint and Query Analyzer (QA) for command entry. This suited some people fine - many told us they "never used anything other than QA". But even more people told us that splitting the tools didn't make sense - they wanted everything in one place. So we took the decision to move to SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Some people liked the decision, others didn't. The point is, we did make a change. And even in the subsequent versions, we're asked to change where this click or that icon lives.

But above and beyond what you click on the left that shows up on the right, there are two overiding concerns I have. One is consistency. If I click on the right for the OK button, I always want it on the right. The second thing is effeciency. I want to click as few times as possible to make something happen.

There are problems created with these goals, however. Consistency means things can't change - even when they are wrong. Hey, even the keyboard we use in the US is based on a design from over a hundred years ago, and I've even heard stories that it was intentionally designed to slow typists down so they wouldn't jam up the keys! So whenever we fix something, we make a change, which breaks the consistency.

On the efficiency standpoint, having fewer clicks means fewer choices. But since you may want to actually specifiy where a backup goes, for instance, we have to provide that option, which slows you down and clutters the screen. So we do both. We have some choices that perform several operations at once, and then we let you edit it with a powerful set of tools after. That's the paradigm that you see in SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).

So when you see your favorite icon or right-click menu item move around, know that we've thought about it a lot, and lots of people have told us what they think about it. We're trying to "un-jam the keys", if you will.

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